Argentina Energy Market Overview

15 Mar 2012

Stabilisation of natural gas production involving a strong development of importing facilities

2010 Key Figures

Population: 40.7 million

GDP growth rate: 9.2%

Energy independence: 100%

Total consumption/GDP: 81.3 (2005=100)

CO2 Emissions: 4.2 tCO2/capita

Rate of T&D power losses: 14%

Natural gas production grew steadily between 1991 and 2004 (by an average of 6.5%/year) and has remained relatively stable since then (44 bcm in 2010). Argentina imports gas by pipe from Bolivia (1.7 bcm in 2009) and since 2009 LNG (0.9 bcm). The country exports gas to Chile and also to Uruguay and Brazil in small quantities. Exports have fallen strongly since 2007 because of a shortage on the domestic market (0.9 bcm in 2009 compared to 6.6 bcm in 2006). The relationship between Argentina and Chile has been tense since 2004, due to the fact that Argentina significantly reduced its natural gas exports to Chile following gas shortages on the domestic market: exports to Chile fell from 6 bcm in 2006 to 2.4 bcm in 2007 and 0.8 bcm in 2009. The country started to import LNG and, since 2008, the country is no longer a net exporter. In 2010 net imports of gas reached 2.9 bcm.

The 70 km-long Gasoducto de Integracion Juana Azurduy (GIJA) pipeline, which will serve as an interconnector between the Bolivian gas fields (Margarita) and the GNEA in Argentina, was completed in June 2011.

See Natural Gas Infrastructure Map

Within the framework of the development of the infrastructures on the territory, the 800 km-long gas pipeline with a capacity of 1 mcm/d connecting Comodoro Rivadavia in the province of Chubut and Esquel (south of the country) was commissioned in May 2006. The capacity of the San Martin gas pipeline in Tierra del Fuego managed by TGS was increased (from 5.4 mcm/d to 7.4 mcm/d in 2011).

Fall in gas production combined to a strong economic growth resulted in massive investments in LNG regasification projects. With the government unlikely to threaten economic growth by loosing price controls further, Argentina is expected to keep investing in LNG regasification capacity, making it harder to break the imports dependency.

Since June 2009 Argentina has been receiving LNG at a floating regasification terminal belonging to Excelerate Energy and Repsol (4 bcm/year) located in Bahia Blanca. A second LNG import terminal "Escobar LNG terminal" was commissioned in June 2011 on the Panama river close to Buenos Aires. The facility, built by Enarsa and Repsol, will double the country's LNG import capacity adding a capacity of 5.2 bcm/year. Escobar LNG is based on technology provided by Excelerate Energy (50% RWE).

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